When you lose a loved one, the last thing on your mind is gathering and distributing assets, paying their bills and navigating the court process. Probate & Will Attorney John Youngblood is here to help you navigate the probate process so you can focus on grieving and comforting your family. Since going into private practice in 2002, John has represented many clients in Athens, TX who are going through the emotionally challenging and legally cumbersome probate process. Our legal team will help you understand your options and make the best decision for your family and anyone else involved.


Texas law allows for several different types of probate procedures. Attorney John Youngblood can advise you on which process is available for your particular needs. Here are the primary types of probate we do for our clients in Athens, TX.

Probate Will as Muniment of Title

In some instances, a decedent’s Will may be admitted to probate as a Muniment of Title. The process is intended to be a simple type of probate when there is simple real estate, no debts and no need for an administration. Generally, however, banks and other financial institutions will not recognize this process to release money in a deceased individual’s account. Most institutions will require that an Executor be appointed and an administration opened.

Application for Letters Testamentary

If a person leaves a valid Last Will and Testament, then the process begins with filing the appropriate pleadings in a court of jurisdiction seeking admission of the Will to probate. After an initial court appearance the judge will appoint an executor to distribute assets to beneficiaries and notify creditors. The executor is responsible for properly administering the estate. Your probate lawyer will ensure the will is valid, file the right notices, help you navigate the process, and provide other necessary legal services.

Application for Letters of Administration/Heirship Determination

When someone dies without a will, the court must appoint an administrator to distribute assets and handle the affairs of the estate. Because no beneficiaries are named in a will, the court will need to identify the heirs who inherit as a matter of law. An Application to Determine Heirship requires proper notices, evidence and witnesses to establish who is legally entitled to the decedent’s estate.

Probate, in this case, may become quite complex, depending on the circumstances. For example, if a husband or wife leaves behind both a spouse as well as children from a previous marriage, who are the proper beneficiaries? Attorney John Youngblood can help you with the probate process and also fight for you in court if an heirship dispute arises.

Temporary Administration

If a person dies without a will, the probate process can take a while. Someone may need to be given temporary authority to take care of immediate issues such as paying bills, accessing funds from the person’s bank account, and taking care of pressing issues.

Affidavits of Heirship

If the deceased person had no Will and had very little real property to distribute to heirs, the probate process typically does not require a probate court. We can file an affidavit of heirship, which is a way of identifying heirs.

Contested Will

Unfortunately, there are circumstances in which family members may dispute the existence or validity of a Will.

  • This can happen in a variety of ways:
  • The will was not legitimate or was procured by fraud
  • The person who died was unduly influenced by another person into making the will
  • The individual was not mentally capable of writing a will
  • The will was improperly prepared, drafted or executed or otherwise does not comply with Texas law

If you have reason to believe a will should be contested, we can meet with you, discuss the case to find out if there are legal grounds for contestation, and develop a solid argument that will stand up in court.

Frequently Asked questions


Many people believe that probating a will is not always necessary. For example, if a married person dies, his or her estate is commonly thought to go to the surviving spouse making probate unnecessary. However, if the deceased spouse had children from another marriage, his or her children may be the legal heirs, not the surviving spouse. Generally, if the Will is not admitted to probate, it is as though the person did not have a Will. Contact John Youngblood to learn more.


Every probate process is different, which means the cost varies. However, unlike other states, Texas probate is not based on the value of the property. So probate is often much more affordable here than in other states.


It depends on whether the deceased person had a valid will and how large their estate was. Without a will, the process can take quite a while—often many months or a year or more - especially if there are disagreements among the family members. However, if a will exists that clearly designates beneficiaries, the process is usually much faster.


Before we begin the probate process, the first thing we need to do is make sure the will is valid. In Texas, there are several requirements for writing a will. If the will does not meet these requirements, it may not be legitimate. That’s why it is always essential to recruit a lawyer’s help when writing a will.


Contact Probate Attorney John Youngblood to discuss your probate needs. He will sit down with you, learn about your unique situation, and explain your options. Give us a call today to request a professional and confidential consultation - (903) 675-5188.

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